Objectives: To examine reproductive and contraceptive history and intentions by HIV status among women at antenatal clinics to help inform initiatives to integrate family planning into antenatal/preventing mother-to-child transmission services in Mwanza region, Tanzania.
Design: A questionnaire survey was carried out in antenatal clinics in Mwanza region, Tanzania in 2007-2008.
Methods: : We interviewed 5284 pregnant women attending 15 antenatal clinics offering HIV testing in Mwanza City and Magu district, northern Tanzania. The questionnaires asked about reproductive and contraceptive history and intentions, and sexual behaviour. Subject to participants' consent, we collected blood to determine HIV status and linked these results to the questionnaire data through individual numbers.
Results: HIV prevalence was 8.9% overall, and family planning ever use was 26%. HIV-positive and HIV-negative women differed with respect to age, parity, length of last birth interval, child survival, childbearing intentions and intention to breastfeed. HIV-positive women were more likely to have used family planning, particularly hormonal methods. Patterns of family planning use and unmet need for contraception yielded useful information for the design of family planning counselling services at antenatal clinics.
Conclusion: Our survey findings point to numerous potential benefits of offering family planning counselling as a part of antenatal services, particularly in clinics offering HIV testing. The differences in reproductive history and intentions between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women highlight the necessity of tailoring family planning counselling to their specific needs.